- Special Sections
- Public Notices
This month the citizens of White Rock and Los Alamos will be instructing their school board, though a mail-in ballot, on the future direction of the schools’ physical facilities.
Having rebuilt the high school and the middle school, do we continue marching though our five elementary schools, as recommended by the Citizens Review Committee 20 Year Plan, or do we stop, postponing the job for a future generation?
Several articles in the Los Alamos Monitor have emphasized that a continuation of the building program will require no new taxes, which is true. But I’d like to highlight a different incentive relating to the physical condition of our schools and our eligibility for matching funds.
Every year a branch of our state government (the Public Schools Finance Authority or PSFA) evaluates and ranks the quality of the physical facilities underlying every school in New Mexico. In the latest ranking, released this fall, four of our five elementary schools ranked in the bottom 15 percent in the state in terms of the suitability of the facilities for providing a quality education. Aspen School ranked in bottom three percent of the more than 700 schools evaluated.
If there is a silver lining to this predicament, it is that the state also provides matching funds to incentivize the lowest ranking districts to pass bonds and rebuild.
If you decide to authorize the bond by a “yes” vote, the PSFA will give us a nearly 50 percent match on your tax dollars to rebuild Aspen, enabling Los Alamos to have a beautiful $18M school for a price tag of $12M.
Moreover, interest rates continue to be low (the last bonds sold on your behalf, in April, were at 1.77 percent) — meaning that more dollars go into construction rather than finance costs.
Modern, attractive schools not only benefit our students directly, but they help Los Alamos attract and retain the best, most inspiring teachers and principals.
Because of the way education is funded in New Mexico, school districts are largely constrained to pay roughly the same salaries. With our relatively high cost of living on the Hill, Los Alamos is at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to attracting the best educators, particular bright young teachers at the start of their careers.
However, by choosing to modernize and rebuild our schools, we can offer them attractive, inspiring places to work in a town that truly values their talents and education.
Still undecided? Drop by the Los Alamos High School open house and high tea, Saturday afternoon, Jan. 13, from 2-4 p.m. and see the beautiful new school that your altruism gave our community.
Los Alamos School Board
Before we complain about our Los Almaos Monitor delivery or lack of same, we need to consider the problems a carrier faces. He or she has to remember which houses get a paper, which houses have a Monitor box and which house numbers he’s been told are not to receive a paper during vacation.
He struggles with his bag in all kinds of weather and even if feeling slightly ill, goes forth bravely rather than ask his dad to drive the route.
Dad can never remember which house numbers are listed or crossed off and then here comes an angry call, “Where’s my Monitor?”
And there’s the problem of communication with headquarters.
In an imagined scenario, my perfect carrier, returning from his own vacation on which his friend had taken his delivery route for him says, “OMG, I was never told that Mrs. Reader was going on vacation! And here are a bunch of papers in her driveway. At least I can put them in her Monitor box, so it won’t be so obvious that she’s not home.”
And my perfect carrier puts today’s Monitor, nicely folded, into the Monitor box.
He knows how annoying it is to get papers that have been so tightly rolled that the reader has to unroll them and lay them out under a stack of heavy books before attempting to handle them for comfortable reading.
So, here’s hats off to the long suffering delivery kids and extra thanks to the one who puts my Sunday Monitor, nicely folded, into my Monitor box on Saturday night so that I have it before Sunday at 6:30 a.m, my scheduled time to read the Monitor on the telephone for the Newsline for the Blind.